James N. Levitt, Program Director, ALPINE

Jim provides strategic oversight for ALPINE, working to advance conservation efforts through the network’s partnerships and activities. Jim is the manager of land conservation programs in the Department of Planning and Urban Form at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and director of the Program on Conservation Innovation at the Harvard Forest, Harvard University, in Petersham, Massachusetts. In addition, he holds ongoing fellowships at the Harvard Kennedy School and Highstead. Jim has written and edited dozens of articles and four books on land and biodiversity conservation. He has lectured widely on the topic in venues ranging from Santiago, Chile, to Beijing, China, and Stockholm, Sweden. He was named a Donaldson Fellow by Yale School of Management. 

Steering Committee

Paul Catanzaro, University of Massachusetts

Paul is an extension associate professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He teaches courses in the forest ecology and conservation major and is co-director of the Family Forest Research Center, a US Forest Service and UMass Amherst partnership. Paul’s research is focused on understanding the decisions private landowners make about the future ownership and use of their land. His research-based extension work provides land conservation options to landowners. Paul is the primary author of the Your Land, Your Legacy publication, and supporting resources.

David R. Foster, Harvard Forest and Highstead

David Foster is an ecologist and author. He is president of the Board of Highstead. He has been a faculty member in biology at Harvard since 1983 and was director of the Harvard Forest, the University’s 4000-acre ecological laboratory and classroom from 1990 to 2020. David’s research focuses on developing a deep historical and ecological understanding of landscapes and their dynamics and applying these insights to management and conservation at broad scales

Although most of his work is published in peer-reviewed journals, David has written and edited a number of books including: Thoreau’s Country: Journey Through a Transformed Landscape; Hemlock: A Forest Giant on the Edge; and A Meeting of Land and Sea: The Nature and Future of Martha’s Vineyard.

In 2010, David and colleagues developed Wildlands and Woodlands – A Vision for the New England Landscape, which inspired the collaboration between the Harvard Forest and Highstead and initiated the Wildlands and Woodlands (W&W) initiative. In collaboration with many colleagues and organizations, this partnership developed Wildlands, Woodlands, Farmland and Communities, which broadens the W&W vision to embrace farmland, the built environment and the full conservation needs and challenges of all of New England.

William Keeton, University of Vermont

Bill Keeton is a professor of forest ecology and forestry at the University of Vermont’s (UVM) Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources. At UVM he directs the Carbon Dynamics Laboratory and is a fellow in the Gund Institute for Environment. He also serves as Chair of the IUFRO (International Union of Forest Research Organizations) Working Group on Old-growth Forests and Reserves. His research focuses on forest disturbance dynamics, riparian ecology, forest carbon, old-growth forests, ecological silviculture, and sustainable forest management in the U.S. Northeast and Pacific Northwest, but also takes him frequently to Central and Eastern Europe where he serves on the board for Science for the Carpathians and was a Fulbright Scholar. He has ongoing research also in Chilean Patagonia and Bhutan related to wildfires and forest-stream interactions. In the U.S. he serves on the Board of Trustees for the Vermont Land Trust and the science advisory committee for the Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative. He holds a B.S. in Natural Resources from Cornell University (’90), a Masters in Conservation Biology and Policy from Yale University (’94), and a Ph.D. in Forest Ecology from the University of Washington (2000). 

Bill Labich, Highstead

Bill Labich has led Highstead’s Regional Conservation Program since 2007, helping to develop the capacities of Regional Conservation Partnerships (RCPs) and regional partners to conserve more land collaboratively and in the service of more resilient communities and regions. Bill coordinates the RCP Network and the Northeast Forest Network and co-coordinates the Northern Appalachian Trail Landscape Partnership–all three of which he co-founded.

Trained as a professional forester and a regional land use planner, Bill gained twenty years’ experience engaging forest landowners, municipal officials, RCPs, and the in whole landscape conservation and stewardship, working for Connecticut Audubon Society, New England Forestry Foundation, and the Franklin Regional Council of Governments.

Bill has co-authored papers on Regional Conservation Partnerships, on Wildlands and Woodlands, and on cross-boundary collaboration. 

Since 1993, Bill has worked as a volunteer to increase access to nature by urban youth of color from across Massachusetts.

Marc Lapin, Middlebury College

Marc Lapin is associate laboratory professor of environmental studies at Middlebury College where his teaching focus is on ecological and socioecological systems, land management, and conservation practice. Marc also serves as college lands conservation and management specialist and directs stewardship of Middlebury’s 6,000 acres of forest, wetland, and agricultural land, of which 2,100 acres are conserved with the Vermont Land Trust. Marc has been a consulting ecologist for nearly 30 years; his expertise in ecosystem mapping, landscape ecology, conservation assessment and planning, and field botany has helped protect tens of thousands of acres in the northeastern U.S. He has worked extensively with Natural Heritage Programs, state and federal conservation agencies, The Nature Conservancy, New England Wild Flower Society, Vermont Land Trust, Vermont Family Forests, and numerous local land trusts, town governments, and private landowners. With interest in multiple ways of knowing, science and spirituality, and traditional ecological knowledge, Marc is a leader in Middlebury’s contemplative pedagogy and place-based education efforts. His collaboration with The Land Institute’s Ecosphere Studies and New Perennials Project has helped establish a northeastern hub of the project at Middlebury College.

Katharine Sims, Amherst College

[Photo]Katharine Sims is an associate professor in the Economics and Environmental Studies Departments at Amherst College. She is an environmental and natural resource economist who draws on microeconomic theory and tools to investigate the impacts of policies to correct market failures. The majority of her work evaluates land conservation policies, including both direct regulatory instruments such as protected areas and local zoning and incentive-based mechanisms such as payments for ecosystem services. Her research seeks to understand how land conservation affects both environmental and economic outcomes and how changes in management or spatial targeting can minimize potential tradeoffs between environmental conservation and economic development. She has contributed to long-term evaluations of land conservation policies including protected areas, payments for environmental services, and community forestry in countries including Mexico, Thailand, Nepal, and the U.S.